No parade if Habs win Stanley Cup this year, Premier Legault announces, tongue firmly in cheek

Quebec Premier Francois Legault removes a Montreal Canadiens face mask as he starts the daily COVID-19 press briefing Thursday May 21, 2020 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Quebec's daily COVID-19 updates have been largely serious affairs - understandable given the gravity of the matter at hand.

But a little bit of levity crept into Thursday's briefing, which was held in Montreal rather than the usual Quebec City.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault emerged to meet reporters wearing a face covering - as he has at the daily briefings over the past few days.

The mask he sported Thursday - crafted by Image Folie, a company from Longueuil on Montreal's South Shore - was emblazoned with the logo of the Montreal Canadiens.

Legault said the mask had been sent to him by Habs captain Shea Weber, noting that the gesture means Weber is clearly not the "resentful" type.

"In January I had suggested that he be traded, and he still sent me a mask," Legault said.

Legault took the opportunity presented to him by wearing the Canadiens mask to speak directly to the team's long-suffering fans.

"If the Canadiens make the playoffs, unfortunately we will not be able to have a parade this summer," Legault said. "I just wanted to be clear about that.

"And we're not working very hard on a Plan B either," Legault quipped.

Earlier during the pandemic, Weber - as well as CTV News Montreal anchor Mutsumi Takahashi - was recruited to record English-language phone messages that were relayed to seniors in Quebec asking them to respect the province's public health directives amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the NHL season came to a halt in March, the Canadiens had a 31-31-9 record, for 71 points, and were well out of a playoff spot in the NHL's Eastern Conference.

The Canadiens' relative lack of success this season aside, the question of any potential Stanley Cup Parade in Montreal - which, during the team's glory years, longtime Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau used to say would take "the usual route" down Ste-Catherine St. - may wind up being moot: the NHL has yet to finalize a plan to resume the remainder of the 2019-2020 season or its playoffs.

The Canadiens last won the Stanley Cup in 1993 - not that Habs fans need reminding.

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